See the interior of Bank House in Hingham decorated for Christmas
The owner of an architectural salvage business in Norfolk has transformed her holiday home into a cozy cottage for Christmas.
There’s no straight line in sight at Louise and Sam Coster in Hingham – and that’s good.
The couple run Mongers Architectural Salvage, a paradise for those who love period homes, renovations and sustainability.
They are dedicated to reusing and recovering quality pieces from the past, whether it is a fireplace, bath, toilet or light, as well as offering real hands-on expertise. on how to recover, reuse, recycle and recycle and therefore reduce the number of things going to landfill.
Their store in Hingham offers approximately 2,000 square feet of display space and adjoins their family home, which they currently share with their dog Betty and cat Hector.
At the back, accessible through a small door in the garden, is Bank House, their 15th century half-timbered cottage that Louise rents out on Airbnb.
It is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Hingham, which was once known as Little London after a group of 18th-century socialites flocked to the area and built a series of magnificent houses overlooking the square.
Although Bank House predates this and is much more modest, it was also an important part of town life, adjoining what was once the town bank and providing a home for the bank manager – although unfortunately fell into disrepair when the bank closed.
“It was completely and utterly abandoned when Sam bought it,” Louise says. “It was listed but nobody wanted it and it kind of fell into disrepair when the bank closed. It was literally falling apart – he completely restored it.
The chalet also shares similar features with the main house, such as its medieval paintings, which Louise says connects the two buildings. As a result, she thinks they probably once belonged to a pair.
Inside, Bank House is full of all the charm and character you would expect from a country cottage of its time. There are exposed beams and clapboard floors, a large fireplace, and original mud-and-cob walls – but there’s modern too.
The kitchen is equipped with modern appliances, including an oven and grill with a ceramic hob, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and microwave, and there is also a smart TV in the living room.
Almost all of the rest of the space is reclaimed, Louise says, including floors that were created from a former aircraft hangar in Dereham. “It was the airbase that kept giving,” she says. “I don’t think I have a single piece of new furniture.”
Originally the chalet was a one storey building with a thatched roof, although a second storey was added later and is now accessed by a wooden staircase.
The upstairs bathroom was also built using salvaged items – bathrooms are, in fact, Mongers’ specialty – and features a restored bath and toilet with a high-level antique cistern .
Louise, a former fashion designer, made much of the upholstery herself – including the lampshades, cushions and her interlocking project, which involved re-upholstering some of the chalet’s lower overhead beams.
A real highlight, for me, is the master bedroom, which combines the property’s wobbly beams, exposed brickwork and antique floors with a huge leaded window that overlooks the garden.
Bank House has been a vacation home for about 12 years and on Airbnb for five, and Louise says it attracts a real mix of guests — from families and couples to those looking for a girls’ weekend.
At Christmas, Louise also goes the salvaged route for her decor, using a mix of natural foliage, candles and traditional country-style decorations to turn the everyday charm of the cottage into a warm celebration – complete with a real tree and a roaring fire. .
When I visited in early December, she captured the essence of a wholesome and cozy Christmas, with lighted candles on the fireplace and fresh clementines in a bowl by the twinkling tree by the living room window.
The wood-burning stove is on, the Bridgewater crockery is out – laden, I notice, with fresh produce from the local bakery – and even the hops framing the kitchen’s huge cantou shimmer and shine.
Louise has really thought of everything, with the table set and a stocking waiting in front of the door.
For more, follow Louise on Instagram at @reclamationandroses.
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